Women nominated for Oscars in 2008 – Jennifer Merin reports

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This year’s ballots present 44 opportunities for voting members of the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences to honor women with their industry’s ultimate peer recognition.

Of course, ten of those women are actresses and their names appear in categories reserved exclusively for women–albeit one of them, Cate Blanchett, is nominated for her brilliant performance as a man.

The remaining 34 women are eligible for golden statuettes in 15 of the 25 Oscars categories. They are:

Best Picture:

  • JUNO (Fox Searchlight), A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production, Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
  • MICHAEL CLAYTON (Warner Bros.), A Clayton Productions, LLC Production, Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
  • THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production, JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • AWAY FROM HER (Lionsgate), written by Sarah Polley

Best Original screenplay:

  • JUNO (Fox Searchlight), written by Diablo Cody
  • LARS AND THE REAL GIRL (MGM), written by Nancy Oliver
  • THE SAVAGES (Fox Searchlight), written by Tamara Jenkins

Best Documentary Feature:

  • NO END IN SIGHT, Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
  • SICKO (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company), A Dog Eat Dog Films Production, Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara
  • TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE (THINKFilm), An X-Ray Production,

    Alex Gibney and Eva Orner

  • WAR DANCE (THINKFilm), A Shine Global and Fine Films Production, Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

Best Documentary Short:

  • FREEHOLD, A Lieutenant Films Production, Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
  • LA CORONA (THE CROWN), A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production, Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega

Best Animated Feature:

  • PERSEPOLIS (Sony Pictures Classics), Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud

Best Animated Short:

  • PETER & THE WOLF (BreakThru Films), A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production, Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

Best Live Action Short:

  • AT NIGHT, A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production, Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
  • IL SUPPLENTE (THE SUBSTITUTE), (Sky Cinema Italia), A Frame by Frame Italia Production, Andrea Jublin
  • TANGHI ARGENTINI (Premium Films), An Another Dimension of an Idea Production, Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans

Achievement In Sound Editing:

  • THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (Universal), Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg

Achievement In Film Editing:

  • THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Juliette Welfling

Achievement in Art Direction:

  • AMERICAN GANGSTER (Universal), Art Direction: Arthur Max, Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
  • ATONEMENT (Focus Features), Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood, Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
  • THE GOLDEN COMPASS (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners), Art Direction: Dennis Gassner, Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • SWEENEY TODD THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount), Art Direction: Dante Ferretti, Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

Achievement In Costume Design:

  • ATONEMENT (Focus Features), Jacqueline Durran
  • ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE (Universal), Alexandra Byrne
  • LA VIE EN ROSE (Picturehouse), Marit Allen
  • SWEENEY TOOD THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount), Colleen Atwood

Achievement In Makeup:

  • LA VIE EN ROSE (Picturehouse), Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
  • PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END, (Walt Disney), Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Achievement In Music Written For Motion Pictures, Original Song:

  • FALLING SLOWLY from ONCE (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

Women score big this year as writers, although writer/directors Sarah Polley and Tamara Jenkins were given the nod for but half of their skill set.

It’s good to see that in the Documentary Feature category, in which it seems men again reign after fem-helmed films ruled last year’s list, that women are credited along with the very famous Charles Ferguson, Alex Gibney and Michael Moore for three superb and important films.

Note that women were not nominated for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film, Best Original Score, Achievement in Sound Mixing nor Achievement in Visual Effects.

We like to think we’ve come a long way, but it’s obvious there’s a still a long way to go before we reach any measure of equal opportunity for women in behind-the-camera jobs.

Any thoughts about this? Please feel free to make your comments here.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).